It was a sunny Thursday, I had waited in the confessional booth the whole morning and no one showed up. “Has the devil gone on vacation?” I wondered. I didn’t know I had dozed off until I heard a male voice ask, “Father! Father, are you there?” Apparently, he had finished his whole confession and I didn’t hear a thing.
I managed to convince him to say it again. “The Lord’s ears are always ready to hear your sins no matter how many times you say them,” I explained.
He started,”‘Father, I have sinned. I have sinned against God and I have sinned against man.” “Here are my sins, Father,” He continued. “I’m an English teacher at Juaboso Senior High School and I take my work very seriously. I am also a parishioner at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at Juaboso…”
“Son, you know you don’t have to tell me all of those things. I’m not supposed to know who you are,” I interrupted him – which is something I’m not supposed to do and I seldom do.
“Father, I have to tell you all these so that you know the gravity of my sins”, he explained. I kept mute and he took the cue to continue.
“And so Father, a friend of mine whom I did my national service with in the school where I teach now was lucky to be appointed by H.E. The President of Ghana to serve as a deputy minister. Since I was the Senior Prefect of the senior high school we both attended, where he was the dining hall prefect and I graduated as the best English student of the school after our SSSCE and oh, I got a First Class in Bachelor of Arts (English) at the University of Ghana, he sought my help with his CV.”
The story was beginning to sound familiar at the mention of Juaboso, ministerial appointment and CV; I wanted to ask him questions but it was against the modus operandi of the sacrament of penance so I controlled my curiosity.
He continued, “I forgot to add that I have been instrumental in his political career as I wrote almost all his campaign speeches for him. To be frank, Father, I was utterly disappointed when I saw what my friend had decided to turn in as a CV for such a high office in the country. Nonetheless, I did my corrections and took out all the funny things, I’m sure you know what funny things by now, he had put in there. After all, what are friends for? In my reply to his mail I typed a long essay explaining the corrections I made to his CV and wished him well.”
I’m sure you might be thinking what I thought as I listened with keen interest to the man on the other side. If a Senior Prefect, Best English SSSCE student, First Class Honours University of Ghana graduate and a teacher of English edits a CV, then it should be par excellent.
“Father, I’m in utter dismay as I speak to you. It took the 6 pm news that the local radio station at Juaboso streams live from Peace FM in Accra to make me realize what I had done wrong.” He paused. “Father, I cannot forgive myself for this blunder…”
“Say the thing already!” I screamed in my head.
“Hmmm… Father, I didn’t send him the edited version of the CV.”
I can imagine the look on your face right now. I had a worse one. After a few seconds, the humour in the whole story dawned on me, but I couldn’t laugh hard. I covered my mouth as it would be wrong for me to laugh.
“’Father, I don’t think he read the essay I attached to the CV. If only he had read that essay, he’d have known that he had the wrong CV.” He went mute for a while and concluded, “I think that’s all.”
“That’s all your sin?” I thought to myself.
“You’re supposed to say the Act of Contrition, son.” I told him so that I would buy time to think of the proper penance to give him for his error that supposedly had national implications. By the time he was done, I had nothing better to tell him, so I asked a silly question to buy more time. “So you came all the way from Juaboso to Accra to make this confession?”
“No, Father, I came to apologize to my friend because he hasn’t been answering my phone calls since his interview in parliament. Given the public attention his vetting has received, I don’t think I will live to tell my tale when I see him, so I decided to come and sort myself out with God first. Then in case I die, I’ll make it to heaven.”
I shook my head at his last statement. Now, I knew exactly what to tell him. “Son, for this sin of yours, you need to subject yourself to solitary confinement for at least twenty-one days. In those days, fast, recite the Rosary and say Hail Mary at least fifty times in a day. Pray that Ghanaians and the vetting committee will forget his inadequacies. After those twenty one days if your friend hasn’t become a deputy minister, leave Accra quietly. If the contrary happens, look for the nearest orphanage and make a hefty donation.”
I noticed a lot of relief in his voice when he said, “Thank you, Father.”
“Go and sin no more,” I responded.
Author : Leslie Akplah and Nana Elikem, Writers threesixtyGh